Winding up of deceased estate taking forever?

The winding up process can often take quite some time, especially for a deceased estate with many moving parts.

Here is a brief overview of the steps taken in the winding up of a deceased estate:

  1. The deceased estate must be reported to the Master of the High Court within 14 days of the death of the deceased.
  2. The death notice and will must be lodged with the Master.
  3. Inventory of the deceased’s property must be compiled and lodged with the Master.
  4. The executor nominated by the will must apply for the Letter of Executorship from the Master.
  5. The Master will appoint the executor of the deceased estate and issue the Letter of Executorship.
  6. The executor will advertise the estate in the Government Gazette and local newspaper. Creditors will then have 30 days from the date of publishing to lodge their claim against the estate.
  7. The executor will open a bank account in the name of the deceased estate.
  8. After the 30 days have expired for creditors to lodge a claim against the estate, the executor will start to determine the solvency of the estate. This may include realising assets to cover debt payments in the estate.
  9. All unrealised assets will be valued, and the liquidation and distribution (L&D) account must be drafted and lodged with the Master.
  10. The executor has up to 6 months from date of appointment to lodge the liquidation and distribution (L&D) account with the Master.
  11. The Master will examine the accounts and be returned to the executor if found to be in order.
  12. The executor will then advertise in the Government Gazette and local paper that the account is lying open for inspection. Objections may be lodged during this time at the Maste’s office.
  13. If no objections were lodged, the executor may proceed in paying creditors, heirs, and legatees. Fixed property may now also be transferred into the names of beneficiaries.
  14. The executor has 1 year from the deceased’s date of death to pay Estate Duty to prevent penalties.
  15. The Master will discharge the executor of his duties if all distributions have been made, fixed property transferred, and creditors have been paid.
  16. The deceased estate will only then be wound up.

The above is only an overview and it’s important to remember that there are countless moving parts and variables, all determined by the deceased’s assets, liabilities, and estate planning. Not to mention the lacklustre delayed service from certain government entities during the winding up process.

What should you do as quickly as possible? Make sure your will is up to date and get proper estate planning done by a professional.

Ruvan J Grobler RFP™

(The South African Financial Planning Handbook 2023, LexisNexis, South Africa, 2022)

*This only serves as factual information and not as financial advice.

Photo by Matt Botsford on Unsplash

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